The Bar News

Illinois Supreme Court Hires Lisa Colpoys to Run New Illinois Help Program

The Illinois Supreme Court and Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) today announced the hiring of Lisa Colpoys as the Supervising Senior Program Manager for Illinois Court Help. Illinois Court Help is a new program within the AOIC’s Access to Justice Division. The program is being developed to address new challenges courts are facing in providing meaningful services and assistance to court patrons, lawyers, and the public in light of the pandemic. Navigational assistance and legal information, in large part, were previously offered in person and on a walk-in basis. However, this mode of delivery is no longer as feasible or safe due to necessary measures to reduce the number of persons inside courthouses. Offering remote assistance helps ensure the court system is fair, efficient and accessible to all.

“We are thrilled Lisa is joining the Judicial Branch to help us start Illinois Court Help,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. “Her extensive experience in Illinois legal aid makes her the perfect person to get this important program up and running.”

Illinois Court Help aims to assure fair and full access to the courts for the public and to assist court staff and the judiciary in distributing resources, legal information, and navigational tools to court patrons, self-represented litigants, and lawyers. As the Supervising Senior Program Manager, Colpoys will develop the program, and once the program launches, oversee a staff of specially trained navigators who will answer questions from court patrons, lawyers, and the public about civil, criminal, and appellate court processes and procedures and provide referrals to available legal assistance, resources, self-help materials, and standardized forms as permitted under the Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Assistance to Court Patrons by Circuit Clerks, Court Staff, Law Librarians and Court Volunteers. Navigators will provide general and county specific information intended to help anyone navigating the court system. That communication will happen through a telephone hotline, live computer chat and phone text, and asynchronous email exchange. The Court Help Program will also partner with the Illinois Judicial College to provide educational programs, videos, and material.

“I am extremely excited to join the Access to Justice team at the AOIC and to get to work building the Illinois Court Help program,” Colpoys said. “This new and innovative service will be a game changer for people who encounter problems using courts across the state, providing them with answers and resources so they can have full access to our courts.”

Colpoys was the Executive Director of Illinois Legal Aid Online from 2002 to 2018, where she led the design, development, and implementation of innovative technology solutions to make legal issues more understandable and legal services more accessible for Illinoisans who cannot afford a lawyer. In this role she developed strategic partnerships with courts, legal aid programs, funding entities, and the private bar while overseeing an annual budget of nearly $2 million.

In addition to her role with Illinois Legal Aid Online, Colpoys has served as a Consultant to the Michigan Supreme Court Justice for All Task Force since September 2019, a National Center for State Courts' Justice for All Initiative funded role in which she was required to assess the state of the civil justice system and develop a strategic plan to ensure access to justice for all in Michigan. For two years she was the Program Director at the Institute for the Future of Law Practice, a start-up nonprofit which educated law students and lawyers on modern legal practice skills.

Colpoys was in private practice for several years before working at Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS) from 1995 to 2000, first as a staff attorney and then as the Director of Legal Services. As Director she managed all legal programs for the nonprofit legal aid hotline and recruited, trained, and supervised the work of 25 staff attorneys and 30 pro bono lawyers.

Colpoys earned her Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University and received her Juris Doctor from the Loyola University School of Law.

Colpoys volunteer work includes serving on the Forms Committee for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice from 2012-2018, serving on the Advisory Board for LawHelp Interactive from 2003-2018, and serving on the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services for the American Bar Association from 2014-2017.

Recognition for Colpoys dedication to improving legal aid in the state of Illinois includes winning awards such as the Abner J. Mikva Award from the American Constitution Society Chicago Chapter in 2018, the Legacy Award from Illinois Legal Aid Online in 2018, the Joseph R. Bartylak Service Award from the Illinois State Bar Association in 2016, the Esther R. Rothstein Award from the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois in 2013, and the Public Interest Law Award from the Loyola University School of Law in 2010.

Posted on January 4, 2021 by Rhys Saunders
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